Friday, June 30, 2017

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Star Odyssey (1979)

I won't lie- this one is awesome!

The Movie is not.  It mostly sucks (but in a fairly-funny way).

So, how did we go from a Star Wars-inspired Film to...
Hot damn!

So, the obvious question- did they name this Film after the Band OR the other way around?

I don't know.

Here's the untouched Version (which is nice and high-res to begin with)...
...and here's a more accurate Version.
Yeah, I'd go with that first one too.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Starz Struck: American Gods- Episode 5

After a bit of a delay, let's jump back into this super-dense Show...
Just in case you thought we were past seemingly-unrelated-but-neat-openings, here is some stop-motion people killed in a Forest.  Okay.
In the wake a Character's return, Shadow is resistant to go back to his old ways.  Can he stick with it?
This d-bag has been absent since Episode 1, but now he's back to be part of the Main Plot.  Joy.
The Goddess of Media continues to have fun with costume play, but also joins forces with someone bigger.

Should I go with Scully Stardust or Ziggy Dana?
Oh shit- things are getting real.  What does Mr. World want with Mr. Wednesday and Shadow?

More importantly, how does he stay the weirdest thing in the room, even with The Goddess of Media cosplaying as Marilyn Monroe?  To find out, you know the drill.
It is still pretty strange, but I feel like something is at least happening consistently.  Shadow and Mr. Wednesday finally have it out to discuss what is happening.  We finally see a little of what is going on.  Crispin Glover is finally here!  There is still a lot of vague stuff here.  In spite of that, things feel like we are finally past the Prelude to this Story.  The Show continues to look neat and be well-acted, so no surprise there.  American Gods makes you wait for the good stuff!  This one didn't disappoint and it makes me want to see what happens next for more than just commitment to finishing the Series.  Keep your eyes on it...
Next time, things are actually moving forward?!?  Let's see how long this will last.  See you then...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Quick Reviews: Kong- Skull Island

After all the seeming backfire to Universal's launch of The Dark Universe, let's look at a slightly-better attempt from Warner Bros....
A mysterious group named Monarch (Shared Universe Trope #4) piggybacks on a mission to Skull Island.

Along for the ride are Scientists, Soldiers, a lady Photographer and...Almost Ryan Gosling.
They show up and drop some bombs- in the name of Science!

This pisses off Kong, as it would.  Chaos ensues.
Sam Jackson gets recapped on the real point of the mission.  Isn't that usually what HE does?
They meet the guy from the beginning bit and he's somewhere between Robin Williams in Jumanji and Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

Why does this Film retrofit Plot Points from Savage Beach?
The titular Island is chock full of all sorts of crazy monsters and big-ass creatures.  Fun!
Can our Heroes survive to tell their tales?  Will Kong live to fight Godzilla in a few years?

To find out, watch the Film.
A good Kong- it has been awhile.  While many are torn on whether or not to like Jackson's Kong- I love it and own it-, there should be less division here.  For starters, this is not a straight, albeit expanded, Remake.  This acts the first Film in a Series without just being the same tale.  That's possible apparently!  I shouldn't have to say this like it is some big deal...but it kind of is.  The Story is a pretty simple one, but they do give it a few wrinkles.  You could argue that there are maybe too many Characters, but they do need someone to die at the hands of giant CG Monsters.  Without SPOILERS, I will say that the way they handle Kong is pretty interesting.  It seems more villainous at first, but you see other sides of it by the end.  That said, it does have the ability to somehow sneak up on people.  It also must have really tiny or non-existent genitals, as there is no way that they shouldn't be visible- not that I really *want* that.  He's still better than Ken Doll Doomsday though.  All in all, Kong: Skull Island is a good, somewhat deep Adventure Film.  You could always do worse kick-starting your Shared Universe.  Speaking of shared, how about this homage to King Kong vs. Godzilla?
Much less disappointing than 2014's Godzilla, this one worked for me.  The question is how the whole Franchise thing will work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lost in Translation: Alien 2: On Earth

While Alien: Covenant is not exactly lighting the world on fire in Theaters, let's go back and look at the first Sequel.

Just kidding- let's look at a VHS Cover for an Italian rip-off instead.
...come again.

To be clear, this Film is about people in a Cave getting killed.  Where does, well, most of this come from?!?

I didn't do too much to this one, but here's the untouched one...
What insanity.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lost in Translation: Laura (1944)

While most famous for his Horror Films, Vincent Price got his start in more straight Films.  Arguably his most famous one is Laura...
I appreciate the unique visual they're going for.  The whole Film is investigating this mysterious Laura, so he's literally pointing a light on her.

It is somehow really-obvious and subtle.

I didn't do *too much* to this one, other than brighten some colors and play with the focus.
Why fix what is not broken?

Twin Piqued: ...Brings Back Some Memories

I'm a bit behind on this one, but I'll try to make up for lost time...
Important Stuff
- A half-there Cooper wins a bunch of money and is then taken home (after meeting Magic Eye Poster Guy).  He lives with...Naomi Watts?
-  The Sheriff (who's Harry's Brother, apparently) arrives as they reopen the case file.
- Lynch's FBI Chief goes to see Cooper/Bob, but only after meeting his boss Denise.  They also clear the air on whether or not she is Transgender.  Good.
- In some random Exposition, we see that Bobby Briggs is now a Cop and learn that his Dad (the Major) died in a fire the day after Season 2 ended (also the same day that Cooper left).  Okay...
- While confused Cooper is getting ready for work, Cooper/Bob is in Prison.  How are there 2 still?
Taking a cue from Episode 3, this one is clearly Sense of Identity.
- One Cooper is dragged through a fake life, while the other tries to escape his own.
- They go randomly in-depth about Denise, which is actually quite nice.
- We also get a little bit with the random bit I'll highlight below...
Weirdest Moment(s)
With no Red Room stuff to speak of (save for a tease), this comes down to three options...
- The Receptionist being so confused by Cell Phones that she thinks Truman teleported!
- Lynch being confused as to why he doesn't see Mt. Rushmore, only for Ferrer to bring out a picture that he had printed in advance for this exact purpose.
- Random Monologues from Michael Cera as Andy & Lucy's world-weary son.

Do you have to guess which one I pick?!? 
To be honest, this has been the easiest one to sit through so far.  I still really like Twin Peaks, but the critiques of Season 2 seem especially petty now.  The complaint is that without the Laura Palmer case, the Show lacked direction and was just weird randomness.  Well, what is this exactly?  We've gotten 2 Scenes of the Doctor with shovels, but no explanation.  A big chunk of Episodes 1 & 2 was about a murder in NYC (with the glass box) and a different one involving 'Shaggy.'  Other than a quick Plot Point involving fingerprints being labeled as Top Secret, have they even touched on this since?  We still don't really know what that whole Glass Box thing was all about either.  With that said, the Show is still ambling along and entertaining me.  This one seemed *a bit* more focused and didn't focus so much on the Red Room stuff.  It is great in small doses, but too complicated when it is the focus.  This Episode gives you good moments, random Cameos, answered some questions and raised many more.  I still wonder what is up with Truman's Actor (who is not listed as appearing this Season on IMDB), but at least we get the real Star of Dragon Wars: D-War...
Next time, will we resolve the 2 Coopers story?  Will things make sense?  See you then...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Triple B Flix: Do or Die (1991)

Continuity is important...until it isn't.  Today's Film is Do or Die, the Andy Sidaris Film for 1991.  It is another in the series of Films about the Agents of LETHAL.  Mind you, those Agents kind of come and go throughout the Films- plus some just become different people.  This Film Series is all about Continuity, even though they've killed the same people at least 4 different times by now.  Those dead Japanese Envoys from Savage Beach- they're now Ninjas.  That lady Patticakes (who was a Cowboy Dancer/Spy) is gone...but someone exactly the same is now there.  Remember when the titular bad guy from Picasso Trigger was suddenly a good Agent?  So noting all of that, here's the biggest one- Erik Estrada is now playing a good guy.  Those Agents he was trying to kill in Guns are now his teammates and nobody seems to notice that he's the twin of a VILLAIN.  Do I take these too seriously?  The Plot of this is the prototype version of 12 Rounds, only even lazier and sillier.  Just like last time, some crime boss wants to kill them & plans to send 6 teams of assassins to try and kill them.  He'll be sporting though- they will go one-at-a-time.  The flimsy Plot is just there to tie the Action Scenes together- joy.  To find out how this silliness turns out, read on...
While a luau is going on, Pat Morita shows up.  Did he stop by on his trip back from Japan?
He wants to kill our two Leads for messing with his criminal empire (in what Film?), puts a tracker on Donna and explains the basic rules.
He's going to send 6 Teams to kill them within 24 hours.  While they call LETHAL for help, he enjoys these graphics that he set up for his 'game.'
After getting help from the Agents- which now includes Estrada!- and killing a few of the villains, they find time to have sex at inopportune times.

Seriously, this Film goes full 'Skinemax' as each lady Agent pairs off with an Agent to randomly bump uglies.  Wow.
The Assassins try all sorts of different ways to kill them.  Some use Helicopters, while others use guns.  These guys try to poison them with catfish.  More on that later.

Oh and these are the same Characters that were obsessed with using Technology to kill people from Guns.  Yea.
Here's something to ruin your day.  Morita gets a massage from his lady Assistant and they imply that she's about to give him a happy ending.  Have fun with that visual.
To cleanse your palette, here's something completely ridiculous...

To kill one of the Assassins, Estrada corners him in the Woods.  Instead of shooting him, he throws a series of baseballs at him (3, to be exact).  The 4th one is actually an explosive, which the man obliges by swinging his shotgun like a bat.

Think about the logistics of that, won't you?
It all comes down to Kane's final duo- the previously dead Japanese guys mentioned before.  After a bit of awkward kung-fu/karate (can you tell the difference in this case?), they just blow them up with a toy helicopter's missiles.  No, really.

To end this on a real anti-climax...
They don't go after Kane.  Instead, they just reveal that the lady with him is on their side now.  The (for real) End.
More of the same, for the most part.  Do or Die doesn't really do much that's different.  More explosions, more big boobs and more shooting.  That is the basic formula of all of these Films, to be fair.  In this case, they make a pretty basic Plot to just do everything they want to.  On the plus side, he's moved past almost always being in Hawaii.  He seemed to almost feel obligated to start there by this point.  What I would say as a general critique is that the Stories tend to work better when the Characters are pro-active.  In this case, they get challenged and spend the whole Movie just running from bad guys.  On top of that, they are too dumb to even think about checking the watch with the obvious tracking device.  I haven't worn a watch in years, but wouldn't you notice a big piece of plastic stuck to the bottom of it while you were wearing it for going on 2 days straight?  That's too much logic for a Sidaris Film.  All in all, the Film has some genuinely-goofy moments, but also devolves into Cinemax Softcore titillation a bit too much.  It appears that that the Restaurant has changed Owners again...
Next time, I try to work through the back-log of Films lying around.  It has to be Japanese, right?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hulu Hoopz: The Handmaid's Tale- Episode 4

Another week and another look at a dark, Jerry Falwell future...
After delivering some news that her Masters didn't like, things aren't going well for Offred/June.
We see a nice Flashback to June with her Husband and Child.  Aw.
A mysterious Doctor checks on her before 'The Ceremony' and is seemingly up to something...
A trip outside of her normal route gives Offred/June a look at the darker World.  We also learn about how Canada is apparently not too bad.

Since a bunch of key Plot happens, I'll leave it there.  No SPOILERS.
A deep, dark Episode...that also gives them a little hope.  I can't go too much into this because I want you to watch this Show.  Without giving stuff away, we see more of the world, get a glimpse into more of the twisted logic behind this whole 'Handmaid' thing and learn about a dark secret of the house.  On top of that, Latin jokes!  It is nice to see a little bit of a turn on things, even as they get worse at times.  Considering how the last Episode ended, this is a Hallmark Film by comparison!  Other than the bleak tone of the Premise, it all continues to work for me.  As the Memes like to say, 'New Episode of The Handmaid's Tale Has Me Feeling Like'...
Next time, the Plot thickens.  Is escape ever going to be an option?  See you then...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Immediate Response: Wonder Woman (2017)

Alright, I finally saw it.  I didn't avoid the Film- I just didn't get the chance.  Since my Rifftrax fix was cancelled, I'll make the most of it.

So here's my take...
The Good
- The Story is great, constantly pushed forward by Diana's constant desire to help people.
- The Acting is good from all involved, especially with the chemistry between Gadot and Pine.
- The Action is good, using the slow-mo and rapid-cut Editing in just about the right amount.
- The Film also has some good humor in it, helping ease you through this whole adventure.

Now I have to nitpick...

The Bad
- DC can't help but be downbeat at one point (no SPOILERS).  We can't have nice things.
- The opening Framing Device was pretty pointless and wreaks of Dustin Lance Black.
- I still don't know if Wonder Woman fought in WWII.  Can't I see her punch Hitler already?
- Not an issue with this Film, but...why couldn't we get this before BvS?  Come on, DC!

All in all, the Film is really good.  They make up for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman.

Well, it's a start anyways.  Don't prove me wrong.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Daddy's Gone A-Hunting (1969)

At long last, another Poor Bastard of the feline variety.

In A-Hunting, we meet a nice lady, her weird boyfriend and their cat.
She eventually breaks up with him and has an abortion, since she doesn't want to have his kid.  He takes this...poorly.
Some time later, she's living with and married to a would-be Politician.  There's that cat again.
After much scheming and stalking, he makes his move.  He breaks in, steals the baby and...
On the plus side, the cat's sacrifice was not in vain.  He now uses its carrier to stash the baby!
The lesson: don't trust people who don't like cats.  He didn't like the cat before and he is a murdering psycho.

To be fair, this kill is set up throughout and not 100% random.  That said, it follows a set-up that implies that he'll kill the Maid.

He doesn't.  He just kills the cat.

Next time, another little person bites the dust.  Their crime: hunger.